And Carissa Moore, narrowing the gap…
No, it ain’t a CT venue but there is something about Merewether, Newy that does seem kind of… natural as a host for the WSL.
I feel like the sickly sweet sentimentality is wearing down my defences: the feel-good factor, the hometown heroes blasting through the pack, Medina’s babe nodding and smiling graciously in the bleachers when her man gets the job done, the shorebreak demolitions etc etc.
It’s acoustic not electric and while the highs are constrained the lows are bearable.
It’s a weird, funky wave but there are at least three turns in it. It ain’t as dismal as the low tide close-outs of a Brazilian beachbreak or Portugal, for example.
Not as soul deadingly stultifying as the tub.
Ciblic is killing it. Seriously.
“Ye Gods, he doth bestride the narrow world (of Newcastle) Like a Colossus…!”
Two years ago he was nobody, a kid who couldn’t make the cut at Merewether Boardriders. Made a few heats at Sunset, snuck in over the line as rookies have done since time immemorial and was introduced to us as a raw bush kid from Angourie with boards being hand-crafted for him by the legendary loose cannon Will Webber.
In a year off he’s gone from Merewether discard to the pride of the fleet.
Less noticed is the fact that his zero to hero trajectory is now almost impossible to duplicate.
The QS is a byzantine mess.
You have to make the cut to make the cut for the next tier, the Challenger Series, which means Morgs would have been left languishing in the bush. Probably picking up the tools to take advantage of the pandemic-led Real Estate boom.
If there was a question mark over the ability to reproduce the winning performance against JJF he squashed it with a demolition of Wade Carmichael.
Now he’s going to test the loyalty of the “educated” surf crowd by taking on the blue-ribbon candidate Ryan Callinan in the quarters.
Most likely the Newy blue-collar dreams, if that is even a thing anymore, will be smashed to smithereens by a Brazilian.
Anyone of them, Medina, Italo or Toledo would do it.
Medina’s ice-cold last wave to defeat Freddy Morais was the highlight of the day for me. Sold him a pup that could have got the score and then with thirty seconds left on the clock made the rock break look like J-Bay with two huge high swoops and a miraculous escape falling out of the lip on the aptly named by Laura Enever “shorebreak of doom”.
When it comes to progressive, which means, throwing down airs, then it’s a clear gap between Italo and the rest of the field.
What I like: he’ll try and fail, then try again, but bigger. Just as it’s a bad move to try and hang with a serious drinker, it was a very bad strategy for Griff Colapinto to try and match Italo in the air.
And maybe bad coaching.
Griff said in his post-heat presser that Coach Whitaker was proud of his efforts to try and bring the noise to the champ. I think a very deluded view of relative strengths and weaknesses. Griff probably would have lost either way, but a couple of sevens might have put a tiny bit more doubt in Italos mind than a bunch of threes.
Ryan Callinan went to the air first wave. Fell. Quickly retracted the progressive appendages, settled down and watched Owen bag two good rides.
I’d never realised how similar the two goofies were, in terms of style and approach. Both based on leverage off the bottom and release in the lip. A slightly more avant-garde approach to basic backside surfing. The heat hinged on two back-to-back rides in the middle of the heat. They looked incredibly similar to Owens rides, maybe lacking a little fin release high in the lip, the trademark Owen backside turn.
Judges, were enraptured and deemed the pair of rides well superior to the last Wright in the draw.
Owen hit the booth later on.
I grabbed a quick thirty at the local Point and saw his Dad wandering the shores. It gave me a biblical feeling. Owen was astute on the loss to Ryan, blaming it on a priority error when he gifted Ryan one of the scoring rides. He claimed luck as a major factor saying anyone could be “comboed by a nobody”.
He called Jordy the “better surfer” compared to Connor Coffin, talked up one of Jordy’s flat spin manufactured airs and then expressed some doubt on Connor’s last wave. Which I shared, but the judges didn’t.
It was a confusing melange of affection for the prosaic, perhaps inspired by Turpel’s romantic depicting of the coal ships offshore and desire for the progressive. Judges wanted it both ways. They’ll have to choose “their major” at some point in this comp.
Julian, Julian, Julian.
Whenever Nick Carroll or Joe Turpel brings up the subject of pro surfer intelligence in my mind I immediately rebut with Julian Wilson. I’m sure there are millions of nuances to the pro surfing caper which my philistinic instincts can never touch but I’m confident that the basic rule of catching a wave has to be up there as a cardinal rule.
Jules needed a wave. He often needs a wave. He didn’t catch the wave. He lost to the little plumber.
After claiming the women had narrowed the performance gap in waves of non-consequence and getting my ass kicked in the comments I had to self reflect: maybe you got that one wrong. Fifteen years ago, Andy Irons opened the final at Barra de la Cruz with an atmospheric straight air.
First turn. Gals seem a way away from hitting it like that.
Carissa today laid it down straight up in the rock break. Weird half light across the wave and boom! Straight up, tail high.
A potential problem for the Steph Gilmore legacy if Carissa both masters the air and gets comfortable at Pipeline.
And a hedge against a new crop of girls who have zero dramas doing both.
Steph, by the way, sent packing by Isabella Nichols. If you are in the Top 17 Womens Tour then you have twice as much chance as making the top five to be in Title contention then if you are in the Top 34 men.
Could someone check the maths on that?
If it’s true: Mummas let your babies grow up to be gal pro surfers.